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8.

5 Low-temperature steels
The large scale industrial use of oxygen in the steel industry, nitrogen in the chemical industry, and the
supply of natural gas to all industrial sectors, have become much more important in recent years. With
the increased use of these gases, their economical transport and storage has become more and more
important. The behaviour of gases, which change to a liquid state at low temperatures and so greatly
reduce their volume, is exploited here.
This property of gases can only be used if suitable base materials and welding consumables, which
have sufficiently good mechanical properties and are adequately tough at the low temperatures of
the liquid gases, are available for the construction of the necessary transport and storage containers.
Unalloyed, low-alloy or high-alloy steels that remain tough at low temperatures (e.g. below -50C)
are known as low-temperature steels. Unalloyed and low-alloy steels can in any case be used at
temperatures down to -50C.
These groups of steels can be distinguished:
1. Unalloyed or low alloy, low-temperature and fine-grained steels for operating temperatures down
to around -50C in a normalised state or down to about -60C in a quenched and tempered state.
2. Nickel alloy quenched and tempered steels with between 1.5 and 9% nickel for operating temperatures between -80C and about 200C.
3. Austenitic chromium-nickel steels for operating temperatures down to about -269C.
Welding low-temperature steels
The key property of welding consumables for welding cryogenic materials is their ability to change
shape at low temperatures. This is usually tested using the Charpy impact test. The value of the impact
energy allows conclusions to be drawn about the tendency to brittle fracture and the possibilities of use
down to a particular temperature.
The value of 27 joules with the Charpy V sample is often taken as the minimum value for the impact
energy at the lowest operating temperature applicable.
When welding low-temperature and fine-grained structural steels, controlled heat input must be ensured
in order to keep the zone affected by the heat as narrow as possible and yet to avoid hardness peaks.
Unalloyed and low-alloy basic coated types according to EN ISO 2560 and EN ISO 18275 are used for
the stick electrodes. It is necessary to ensure that the hydrogen content of the welded joint is as low as
possible in order to avoid cold cracking, which means that redrying the electrodes before welding, and
taking them from a heated quiver, is recommended.
This point also applies to the welding flux used in submerged arc welding. The necessary low-temperature
toughness and strength must be taken into account particularly when selecting wire-flux combinations
or wire-shielding gas combinations.
When unalloyed flux cored wires are used, basic or metal cored wires are to be preferred because
of the toughness and the low diffusible hydrogen content.

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8.5 Low-temperature steels


When welding nickel-alloyed quenched and tempered steels, same type or similar type welding consumables containing between 2.0 and 3.5% Ni are used. Same-type welding consumables are preferred if,
in addition to the necessary minimum temperature, the mechanical-technological properties (strength,
toughness) and the physical properties (coefficient of thermal expansion) of the base material must be
provided in the welded metal.
Welding consumables with higher nickel contents have a greater tendency to hot cracking. Although it
is possible to weld the 5% nickel steels using austenitic welding consumables such as BHLER A 7 or
BHLER ASN 5, the use of nickel-based types is preferred for this base material. Heat treatment of the
welded joint must then be omitted, in light of the austenitic weld metal (embrittlement, carbon diffusion).
The 9% Ni steel is normally joined using nickel-based welding consumables. These nickel-based
types have advantages over conventional austenites, due to a higher yield strength and the possibility
of giving heat treatment to welded joints. They can also be used for steels with a low nickel
content.
With a limited dilution with the base material, resistance to cracking and adequate low-temperature
toughness down to -200C is achieved.
Same type welding is used on the austenitic chrome-nickel steels for low-temperature applications.

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8.6 Creep-resistant steels


The strength of unalloyed structural steels falls significantly at high operating temperatures; they can
therefore only be used up to a temperature limit of about 350C. Creeping and flowing processes occur
in the steel under high-temperature stress, which make the permissible load become time-dependent.
For that reason the design of components for operating temperatures above about 550C is carried out
using the creep strength, from which it is possible to see how long the material can support a particular
stress at a particular temperature before fracturing.
Creep resistant steels therefore have sufficient mechanical strength at high operating temperatures. In
addition, they must also have enough resistance to corrosion and to scaling at the operating temperature. The high-temperature strength and creep resistance are improved through the addition of particular alloying elements such as Cr, Mo, V, W, Co, Ti and Nb. In metallurgical terms, this happens through
the mixed-crystal formation and the development of finely distributed special carbides and nitrites during
the quenching and tempering process.
The resistance to corrosion and scaling is adjusted through the Cr content.
For temperature stresses up to 550C, small additions of Mo, V and Cr are sufficient; Mo has the
greatest effect on increasing the creep resistance. Increased scaling resistance is also required above
550C. The 9 - 12% Cr steels with added Mo, W, Co, V and Nb may be considered for these purposes.
The creep strength of quenched and tempered steels drop so significantly above 620C that special CrNi steels (base type: 16% Cr, 13% Ni) or Ni-based materials have to be used. The creep resistant steels
are standardised in EN 10028-2, EN 10222-2, EN 10213, EN10216-2 and elsewhere.
Welding the creep resistant steels
The creep resistant steels can be divided into three main groups:
1. Ferritic-pearlitic steels
(e.g. 65GH, P355GH and 16Mo3)
The steels are available in normalised condition. There is no risk of hardening in the zone
affected by heat. Above a certain wall thickness, however, preheating to 150C is required
(P265GH = 25 mm; 16Mo3 = 15 mm.)
2. Bainitic (martensitic) ferritic steels
(e.g. 13CrMo4-5, 10CrMo9-10, 14MoV6-3).
These steels are available in tempered condition, and are air-hardening, which calls for special attention
when welding. Hard, brittle zones can develop through the formation of martensite in the HAZ of the
base material and in the weld metal itself, and this can cause cracking. For this reason, preheating to
temperatures between 100 and 300C, depending on the type of steel, should therefore be carried out,
and the interpass temperature needs to be taken into account. Since the preheating and interpass temperatures lie below the Ms temperature (Ms = 480C), subsequent tempering is necessary at temperatures in the range between 640 740C, depending on the steel type, but in any case below Ac3. Notes
on the selection of the preheating and interpass temperatures are given in Table C5 of BS EN 1011-2.
2.1 Bainitic steels
(e.g. 7CrMoVTiB10-10,7CrWVNb9-6 )
These new steel types are preferred for the construction of boiler walls. In this thin-walled range, the
steels are welded, with appropriate preheating. Subsequent heat treatment is often omitted. Thicker
walls are annealed at 740C after welding.

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8.6 Creep-resistant steels


3. Martensitic steels alloy basis 12% chromium
(e.g. 12% Cr steels X20CrMo12-1, X22CrMoV12-1 and X22CrMoWV12-1).
The steels are available in quenched and tempered condition. The largely martensitic microstructure
means that very careful heat control must be exercised during welding. Two different techniques have
become accepted in practice, and are known as martensitic and austenitic welding. The difference lies
in the preheating and interpass temperatures. For austenitic welding, this is above the Ms temperature
(400 to 450C), while in the case of martensitic welding, it is below the Ms temperature (between 200
and 250C). After welding, the work is cooled to between 80 and 120C, followed by heat treatment
in the temperature range between 720 and 780C. A special example of the 12% Cr steels is the new
X12CrCoWVNb12-2-2 steel. This steel exhibits a high resistance to scaling together with good creep
strength at temperatures up to about 650C, and is used for superheater pipes. Preheating temperatures are 150-200C, interpass temperatures are at most 280C, same-type consumables are used, and
subsequent heat treatment is carried out at about 770C.

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3.1 Martensitic steels alloy basis 9% chromium


(e.g. X10CrMoVNb9-1, X11CrMoWVNb9-1-1, X10CrWMoVNb9-2).
In contrast to the 12% chromium types, the 9% chromium types feature, in particular because of the
lower C content, a reduced tendency to harden during welding, as a result of which the risks of cold
cracking and the occurrence of stress corrosion cracking are reduced. Preheating and interpass temperatures in the range between 200 and 300C should nevertheless be provided. Because the welding
technique has a significant effect on the achievable toughness of the weld metal, the use of multi-pass
techniques, i.e. lower layer thickness, is recommended. This creates a high proportion of quenched and
tempered microstructure in the weld metal, and thus improves the toughness. Prior to the necessary
tempering (740 - 760C), intermediate cooling to room temperature is necessary, in order to achieve
complete martensite conversion.
Selecting welding consumables
Same-type alloyed welding consumables are normally used. It is only if this precondition is fulfilled
that the welded joint can be expected to have a creep strength that matches the base material. Stick
electrodes include those with a basic or rutile coating. Due to their poorer mechanical properties and
their higher hydrogen content, the latter are only used for steels up to at most 1% Cr and wall thickness
up to 12 mm. Rutile coated stick electrodes are mostly used for root welding.
TIG welding is often used for the root pass on pipes. Gas shielded metal arc welding with solid electrodes, and also particularly with flux cored wires are also becoming increasingly important, as is the
SAW technique.

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8.6 Creep-resistant steels


Welding consumables
The following table gives examples of various Bhler welding consumables for welding creep
resistant steels:
Materials

Designations

16Mo3

BHLER FOX DMO Kb, Phoenix SH Schwarz 3 Mk, BHLER DMO-IG,


Union 1 Mo, BHLER EMS 2 Mo, Union S 2 Mo, BHLER DMO Ti-FD

13CrMo4-5

BHLER FOX DCMS Kb, Phoenix Chromo1, BHLER DCMS-IG, Union 1


CrMo, BHLER EMS 2 CrMo, Union S 2 CrMo, BHLER DCMS Ti-FD

10CrMo9-10

BHLER FOX CM 2 Kb, Phoenix SH Chromo 2 KS, BHLER CM 2-IG,


BHLER CM 2-UP, Union S1 CrMo 2

X10CrMoVNb9-1

BHLER FOX C 9-MV, Thermanit CrMo 9V, BHLER C 9 MV-IG, Thermanit MTS 3, BHLER C 9 MV-UP

P92, NF 616

BHLER FOX P 92, Thermanit MTS 616,

X20CrMoWV12-1

BHLER FOX 20 MWV

High pressure hydrogen resistant steels


Steels with little tendency to decarburisation by hydrogen at high pressures and temperatures, and to
the embrittlement and grain boundary cracking that are associated with it, are classified as high pressure hydrogen resistant. These properties are achieved by alloying with elements that form highly stable
carbides that are difficult to decompose at the operating temperature. Chromium is one such element.
High pressure hydrogen resistant steels include, for example, 25CrMo4, 20CrMo9, 17CrMoV10, X20CrMoV12-1, X8CrNiMoVNb16-13 according to the steel-iron materials data sheet 590.
Hydrogen penetrates the steel at high pressure, and reacts with the carbon in the iron carbide or pearlite, forming methane. Because the methane molecules, due to their size, do not defuse very easily, high
pressures develop inside the steel, and these can result in breakup of the microstructure and finally to
intercrystalline cracks.
Welding high pressure hydrogen resistant steels
If the necessary precautionary measures are taken, high pressure hydrogen resistant steels are suitable
for welding. Increasing the carbon content, however, impairs the suitability for welding. Prior to welding,
these steels should be preheated to between 200 and 400C, depending on the steel type, and this
temperature must be maintained when welding.
After welding, cooling must be slow and even. The subsequent heat treatment must be carried out
according to specifications. The welding consumables must also yield a weld metal that is high pressure
hydrogen resistant. The X20CrMoV12-1 and X8CrNiMoVNb16-13 steels require a very special welding
technique.

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8.7 Stainless steels


The stainless steels group contains a large number of very different kinds of alloy, whose common feature is a chromium content of at least 12%. This ensures that, under oxidising conditions, an extremely
thin, stable, layer of oxide forms on the surface of the steel, and the steel changes from an active (soluble) into a passive (insoluble) condition. The resistance to oxidising media is increased in the passive
condition. In the presence of a reducing environment, however, i.e. when there is little available oxygen,
the otherwise passive steel changes into the active condition. The chromium content of at least 12% that
is required for a degree of chemical resistance of the steel, is very often referred to as the parting limit.
The alloying element chromium, and, following on from that, nickel, are the basic elements for stainless
steels. The effect that they have on the microstructure within the steel is, however, very different.
Whereas the gamma region is protected as the chromium content rises and, with 12% or more, only
ferrite (body-centred cubic solid solution) is the predominant form between the solidification and room
temperature, rising nickel content expands the gamma region. Above a certain nickel content, the
microstructure only comprises austenite (face centred cubic solid solution) between the solidification
temperature and room temperature.
The effect on the formation of the microstructure of all the other alloying elements that are added to
steel in order to improve particular properties can be classified as either chromium-like or nickel-like.

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This means that it is possible to distinguish between ferrite-forming and austenite-forming elements,
as follows. Ferrite-forming elements: chromium, silicon, aluminium, molybdenum, niobium, titanium,
tungsten and vanadium.
Austenite-forming elements: nickel, manganese, carbon, cobalt, copper and nitrogen. If sufficient quantities of nickel are added to a ferritic iron-chromium alloy, it converts to the austenitic state.
The most important groups of stainless steels are listed in the following table. They are divided according to the microstructure.
Microstructure

Material types

Pearlitic-martensitic

X30Cr13

Semi-ferritic-ferritic

X8Cr17

Soft martensitic

X5CrNi13-4

Ferritic-austenitic

X2CrNiMoN22-5

Austenitic
Austenite with ferrite
Austenite without ferrite

X5CrNi18-9
X8CrNiNb16-13

These steel groups differ both from the metallurgical and the physical point of view, and suitable
measures must be taken when welding to allow for their special features.

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8.8 Martensitic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


A few characteristic martensitic Cr steels and their suitability for welding:
Material designation

%C

%Cr

%Mo

Welding suitability

X12Cr13

0,15

13,0

limited

X20Cr13

0,20

13,0

very limited

X39CrMo17-1

0,42

16,5

1,2

none

Basically this group of steels must be considered as having only limited suitability for welding. As the
carbon content rises, the risk of cold cracking increases, and joint welding should be avoided as far as
possible.
The most important alloying element is chromium which, when the content is about 12%, lends its passivity, and therefore its corrosion resistance in oxidising media, to the steels. As a ferrite-forming element,
chromium restricts the austenite region of the iron; with about 13% chromium it is entirely choked off.
Steels with chromium contents of greater than 13% and with very low carbon contents (< 0.1%) do not
undergo any conversion as they cool from the solidification temperature to room temperature. These
are the ferritic Cr steels.
The group of hardenable steels begins at chromium contents above 12% and carbon contents of about
0.1 to 1.2%. These are the martensitic chromium steels. As a result of the higher-carbon content, the
austenite region is extended, and this creates the possibility of hardening.
Welding martensitic chromium steels
The austenitic component in the heat affected zone of the base material is always converted to martensite with air cooling, since the formation of pearlite and intermediate phases is heavily delayed by the
high chromium content.
Due to the high chromium content of the steel, the conversion to pearlite, in which the delta-ferrite and
the carbide are precipitated from the gamma solid solutions, only begins after a very long time. As a
result, the weld metal, and the heat affected zone (HAZ), effectively always convert to the martensitic
phase, unless it is heated above the martensite conversion temperature.
If we consider the increasing hardness of this kind of steel in relation to the carbon content, their unfavourable or inadequate suitability for welding can easily be understood.
Increase in hardness for various carbon contents:
Carbon content

Hardness

0.10% C
0.15% C
0.20% C
0.25% C
0.40% C
0.70% C
1.00% C

ca. 40 HRC
ca. 46 HRC
ca. 50 HRC
ca. 53 HRC
ca. 56 HRC
ca. 58 HRC
ca. 60 HRC

At the same time we can also understand that, in practice, martensitic Cr steels with less than
0.15% carbon are almost the only ones used for welded constructions.
The role played by hydrogen during welding represents a further disadvantageous factor.
Particularly when brittle martensite is present, higher hydrogen contents can lead to a strong tendency
to hydrogen-induced cold cracking in the welded joint.

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8.8 Martensitic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


Because the martensite is relatively hard, brittle and at the same time susceptible to corrosion, the 13%
Cr steels are always quenched and tempered, while 17% Cr steels are quenched and tempered or soft
annealed.
This group of steels is welded using both, same type and dissimilar welding consumables. See further
below for recommendations about the appropriate welding technology and welding consumables.
When same type or similar type welding consumables are used, the weld metal, in the welded condition,
consists of martensite and delta-ferrite, with a small proportion of residual austenite. For this reason the
figures for elongation and impact energy are very low, and annealing is almost always done at between
700 and 750C.
Welding technology

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for steels with carbon contents below 0.15%



Covered electrodes and SAW flux are to be redried according to the manufacturers specifications.

Same type welding consumables should only be used when there is a requirement for colour matching, comparable strength or fatigue strength. Otherwise use austenitic welding
consumables.

A preheating and interpass temperature of 200 - 300C is strictly recommended.

After welding, tempering at 700 - 750C is to be carried out. Pay attention when using austenitic
welding consumables there is a risk of embrittlement.
Suitable welding consumables include:
Microstructure

Designation

Same Type

BHLER SKWAM-IG

Dissimilar

BHLER FOX A 7, BHLER A 7-IG, BHLER A 7 CN-UP,


BHLER A 7-MC, BHLER A 7-FD, Thermanit X (SMAW, GMAW,
SAW)

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8.9 Ferritic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


The following table contains the chemical composition and the suitability for welding of a number of
ferritic Cr steels characterised by a low carbon content. As a result, these steels are predominantly
ferritic from the beginning of solidification down to room temperature. They therefore do not undergo
any conversion, and for that reason can also not be hardened. In some cases Mo, Ti or Nb are added
to the alloy in order to improve the chemical properties.
Material designation

%C

%Cr

%Mo

Welding suitability

X6Cr13

<0,08

13,0

limited

X6Cr17

<0,08

17,0

limited

X6CrMo17-1

<0,08

17,0

1,1

limited

A fine-grained structure is a precondition for adequate technical parameters, particularly where elongation is concerned. This is achieved if the last conversion stages are carried out below 800C, with
subsequent heat treatment up to 800C followed by fast cooling in air or water. This group of materials
is very sensitive to overheating. If exposed to temperatures above 1000C, the grains tend to become
coarser and this, in combination with carbide precipitation, can result in heavy embrittlement. Ferritic Cr
steels are therefore also not used for the construction of pressure vessels.
In addition, the ferritic Cr or Cr-Mo steels tend, as the Cr content rises, to exhibit a time-dependent
hardening phenomenon in the temperature range between 400 and 525C. This is known as 475C
embrittlement. It involves a separation of the ferrite into a high-chromium and a high-iron phase.
Welding ferritic Cr steels
Particularly in the case of steels with a high Cr content, the heat introduced during welding causes
grain growth in the highly heated part of the transition zone, and this cannot be rectified by subsequent
heat treatment. In addition, carbide is precipitated at the grain boundaries, leading to a further reduction
of toughness. For these reasons, the ferritic Cr steels are classified as having only limited suitability
for welding. Similarly unfavourable conditions are to be expected in the weld metal when same type
welding consumables are used.
The loss of toughness constitutes an absolute weakening of the welded joint. The use of austenitic
welding consumables is therefore recommended for welding ferritic Cr steels.
Due to its altogether greater toughness, the austenitic weld metal is able to act to some extent as an
expansion element. The austenitic weld metal also offers advantages from the point of view of corrosion
chemistry. There is a disadvantage in the form of the different colouring of the base material and the
weld metal. If colour matching is a necessity, same type alloy welding consumables must be used. If gases containing high amounts of sulphur or carburising gases will be present in practice, it is possible that
the austenitic weld metal will be attacked preferentially (e.g. through the formation of nickel sulphide).
In this case, the procedure is to fill the joint with austenitic metal, and to weld only the last layers of the
medium exposed surfaces using ferritic welding consumables. Welding is carried out after preheating
to between 200 and 300C, in order to keep thermal stresses as low as possible. Care is to be taken
to introduce as little heat as possible, in order to minimise the formation of coarse grains. Annealing in
the range from 700 to 750C is advantageous after welding. This causes the precipitated carbides to
coagulate, whilst reducing tensions at the same time. Up to a certain point, both of these factors bring
an improvement in toughness.
The coarse grains in the heat affected zone cannot, however, be overcome. When austenitic welding
consumables are used, it is necessary to allow for their tendency to precipitate intermetallic phases
(embrittlement) in the temperature range between 600 and 900C.

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8.9 Ferritic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


Welding technology
for ferritic Cr steels with carbon contents below 0.12%

Covered electrodes and SAW flux are to be redried according to the manufacturers specifications.

Same type welding consumables are only to be used if colour matching is required or if the component will be exposed to sulphurous or carburising gases.

A preheating and interpass temperature of 200 - 300C is advisable.

The energy input per unit length when welding must be kept as low as possible.

After welding, tempering at 700 - 750C is recommended. Pay attention when using austenitic
welding consumables there is a risk of embrittlement.
The following table shows suitable dissimilar welding consumables. Types for the same microstructure
are available on demand.

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Microstructure

Designation

Dissimilar

BHLER FOX SAS 2, BHLER SAS 2-IG, BHLER SAS 2-UP,


BHLER SAS 2-FD, BHLER SAS 2 PW-FD, Avesta 347/MVNB
BHLER FOX EAS 2, BHLER EAS 2-IG, BHLER EAS 2-UP,
BHLER EAS 2-FD, BHLER EAS 2 PW-FD, Avesta 308L/MVR,
Thermanit JEW 308L-17
BHLER FOX CN 23/12, BHLER CN 23/12-IG, BHLER CN 23/12UP, BHLER CN 23/12-FD, BHLER CN 23/12 PW-FD, Avesta 309L

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8.10 Soft martensitic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


Steels with a soft martensitic microstructure have a wide range of applications. The steel type with 12%
chromium and 4% nickel is the most important representative of this group of steels. Information on
chemical composition and suitability for welding is contained in the following table.
Material designation

%C

%Cr

%Mo

%Ni

Welding suitability

X5CrNi13-1

<0,05

13,0

0-0,4

1 - 1,2

good

X5CrNi13-4

<0,05

13,0

0,4

4,0

good

X5CrNi13-6

<0,05

13,0

0,4

6,0

good

X5CrNi16-6

<0,05

16,0

6,0

good/ limited

X5CrNiMo16-5-1

<0,05

16,0

1,5

5,0

good/ limited

This kind of material exhibits a very wide range of mechanical properties, depending on its chemical
composition and, above all, on the type of heat treatment. For this reason, only the X5CrNi13- 4 type
will be considered closely in what follows.
The basic ideas behind the development were, firstly, to lower the carbon content in order to increase
the toughness of the martensitic structure and to reduce the tendency to cold cracking, whilst achieving
a microstructure as free as possible from delta-ferrite by alloying with between 4 and 6% nickel.
At room temperature the microstructure thus consists of soft martensite with small quantities of supercooled delta-ferrite and austenite. Tempering further increases the toughness and lowers the hardness or strength. At the same time, the low carbon content and the inclusion of about 0.5% molybdenum
in the alloy increase the corrosion resistance.
A significant advantage of the soft martensitic chromium-nickel steels lies in their good suitability for
welding when compared with plain chromium steels.
The suitability of the soft martensitic steels for welding is largely characterised by three properties:
1.
2.
3.

The formation of low-carbon, tough martensite in the HAZ and in the weld metal, thus greatly
reducing the tendency to cold cracking.
A low delta-ferrite content. To a large extent this counters the tendency to form coarse grains
when welding.
The sensitivity of the martensitic microstructure to hydrogen. Hydrogen-induced cold cracking
can occur if the content of diffusible hydrogen is > 5 ml / 100 g.

Welding soft martensitic Cr-Ni steels


The type of heat treatment applied has an important effect on the mechanical properties of these materials. Soft martensite with a nickel content of more than 3.5% exhibits a special metallurgical behaviour,
namely the formation of finely dispersed austenite at tempering temperatures above 580C. This effect
results in an increase of the values for impact energy in the 13/4 weld metal. The highest values are
achieved through tempering at between 600 and 620C. At higher tempering temperatures, the impact
energy falls again due to the conversion of the tempered austenite into martensite as it cools.

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8.10 Soft martensitic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


The selection of the interpass temperature is of special importance if cold cracking is to be avoided
in the welded joint. Practical experience of soft martensitic materials indicates that a sudden flipping
of large regions of the welded seam into martensite should be avoided when cooling after welding.
Otherwise, extremely high conversion stress and internal stress conditions must be expected in the
weld metal, and these can later result in cold cracking. Interpass temperatures that lie close to the Ms
temperature must therefore be considered as critical.
It is recommended that the interpass temperature should be kept in the range between 120 and 220C
for the X5CrNi13-1 weld metal, and between 100 and 160C for the X5CrNi13-4 and X5CrNi13-6 weld
metals.
As a result, a martensite conversion of about 50% occurs in the weld bead, which is advantageous from
the metallurgical point of view and from the point of view of stress. Accurately maintaining the quoted
interpass temperature is of particular importance when it is not possible to carry out a subsequent heat
treatment.
Welding technology
In light of the special features of welding soft martensitic steels, it is recommended that the welding
technique described below is followed. These notes apply to the most important soft martensitic steel,
containing 13% Cr and 4% Ni.

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1.
2.
3.
4.

Only same type alloy welding consumables should be used for joining.
Covered electrodes and SAW flux are to be redried in accordance with the manufacturers specifications in order to maintain a hydrogen content of < 5 ml/100 g in the weld metal.
Thick walled components should be preheated to 100C, and welded using an interpass temperature in the range between 100 and 160C.
Tempering, or quenching and tempering is required after welding in order to increase toughness.

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8.11 Austenitic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels


The group of austenitic chromium-nickel-(molybdenum) steels is the most significant of these stainless
materials. Generally speaking, these chemically resistant steels can be classified as very well suited
to welding. They cannot be quench hardened, which means that hardening does not occur in the heat
affected zone, and there is no significant grain coarsening. Nevertheless, unsuitable handling can, in
some circumstances, cause three problems, both in the base material and in the weld metal. These are:


Sensitisation, i.e. a reduction in the resistance to corrosion due to the formation of chromium
carbide.
Hot cracking, i.e. separation of grain boundaries during solidification, or in the highly heated HAZ
when rigidly fixed.
Embrittlement, i.e. the precipitation of intermetallic phases such as the sigma phase through
exposure to high temperatures or annealing.

When welding the fully austenitic steels, their inherent tendency to hot cracking must also be considered.
Notes on the welding techniques for standard austenitic Cr-Ni-(Mo) steels, the subsequent heat treatment of the weld seams, and information on welding consumables can be found in the corresponding
sections.
Welding technology

Only grades corresponding to the base material concerned should be used for welding. The delta-ferrite content of the weld metal should be in the range between 3 - 15 FN (ferrite number). This
ensures sufficient resistance to hot cracking. For highly corrosion-resistant special steels, same
type welding consumables that yield a fully austenitic weld metal are also available.
Ensure that austenitic steels are only processed when their surface is clean and dry.
The arc should be kept as short as possible in order to avoid picking up nitrogen from the air.
When welding with shielding gas, it is necessary to make sure that the gas shield is working
perfectly. With the exception of flux cored wire welding, only shielding gases with a low CO2
content should be used in order to keep carburising of the weld metal to the lowest possible level.
Preheating to 100 - 150C is only advisable if the base material is thick, but it is not necessary
in principle.
An interpass temperature of 150C should not be exceeded.
Ensure that the current intensity is kept within the recommended range.
If it is not possible to reweld the root when welding with shielding gas, then shielding gas (e.g.
forming gas or pure argon) must be applied from the rear.
If possible, dilution with the base material should be kept below 35%. If, as a result of the welding
method, it is higher than this, the ferrite content of a test seam must be determined with a calibrated ferrite content meter or an estimate must be calculated from the chemical composition, e.g.
using the WRC-92 diagram. The ferrite content, i.e. the FN, should not be below the minimum
figure mentioned above.
Annealing treatment after welding should be avoided at all costs. If this is not possible, then it
must be expected that the corrosion resistance and/or toughness may be impaired. In such cases
consultation with the manufacturer of the steel and of the welding consumable is recommended.
In general it is possible to use unstabilised, low-carbon welding consumables for stabilised steels
and vice versa, but the temperature limit for intergranular corrosion must be borne in mind.
Greater distortion than when welding ferritic steels must be allowed for, and corresponding countermeasures, such as the seam shape, stronger tacking, pre-stressing, back-welding and so forth
must be considered.

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493

8.11 Austenitic Cr-Ni(-Mo) steels



Straightening with the gas flame should not be done if at all possible, as corrosion resistance
can suffer from this. The harmful effect of arc strikes outside the welded joints should also be
particularly stressed in this context.
Only slag hammers and brushes of stainless Cr or Cr-Ni steels should be used for cleaning
austenitic welded joints.

Subsequent treatment of welded seams


It must be noted that an entirely clean metal surface is a precondition for optimum corrosion resistance.
It is not only necessary to remove all the welding scales, the slag and spatter, but all the annealing
colours must also be eliminated.
Subsequent treatment can comprise grinding, pickling, blasting with quartz, corundum or glass beads,
brushing and/or polishing. The finer the surface, the better is the corrosion resistance (e.g. rough grinding fine grinding polishing).
Pickling is used most often. A variety of pickling solutions or pastes are available for this purpose. They
are applied to the surface, and after the recommended exposure time must be thoroughly rinsed with
water. Removing the annealing colours from welded seams can be a challenge. These too can be
removed by treating with quartz sand or by brushing.

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If the pickled component will soon be exposed to corrosive agents, as is frequently true for repair jobs,
then passivation is recommended after the pickling. Thorough rinsing is again necessary after the passivation treatment. While we are talking about the application of pickling agents, it is important to stress
that these are highly caustic substances. It is therefore essential that protective gear such as rubber
gloves, rubber aprons, eye protection and possibly breathing protection are used. Local environmental
protection regulations must also be observed.
Blasting with quartz, corundum or glass beads is used when grinding or pickling are not possible. This
method must only be applied using the said materials. The method does yield a clean, metallic surface,
but one that is somewhat rough. Passivation should also be carried out after blasting.
Welding consumables
The following table provides examples of various Bhler welding consumables that are appropriate for
welding the materials under discussion:
Material

Designation

X5CrNi18-9

BHLER FOX EAS 2-A (IG/UP/FD), Thermanit JEW 308L-17, Avesta 308L/MVR

X2CrNi18-9

BHLER FOX EAS 2-A (IG/UP/FD), Thermanit JEW 308L-17, Avesta 308L/MVR

X5CrNiMo18-12

BHLER FOX EAS 4 M-A (IG/UP/FD), Thermanit JEW 316L-17, Avesta 316L/MVR

X2CrNiMo18-10

BHLER FOX EAS 4 M-A (IG/UP/FD), Thermanit JEW 316L-17, Avesta 316L/MVR

X10CrNiNb18-9

BHLER FOX SAS 2-A (IG/UP/FD), Thermanit H Si, Avesta 347/MVNb

X10CrNiMoNb18-10

BHLER FOX SAS 4-A (IG/UP/FD), Thermanit AW, Avesta 318-Si/SKNb-Si

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